Fast Facts: 'Army of Darkness' and 25 Years Worth of Trivia - Bloody Disgusting
Connect with us

Editorials

Fast Facts: ‘Army of Darkness’ and 25 Years Worth of Trivia

Published

on

February 19th, 1993 saw the long-delayed release and epic continuation of Sam Raimi’s beloved Evil Dead franchise. With Army of Darkness, Sam and his screenwriting partner (and brother), Ivan Raimi, leaned heavily into the comedy, more so than even the Tex Avery inspired Evil Dead 2 before it. While Darkness wasn’t the biggest success financially (read: it pretty much tanked), it’s safe to say that AoD has gone on to garner quite the cult following. Those who love it, know the film inside and out. How many roles did the other Raimi (Ted) play throughout the film? Just how many different cuts of the film are there? And what are the differences? Well, get ready for a lightning round of AoD trivia and fun facts, you primitive screwheads! In honor of the film’s 25th anniversary today, I’ve loaded my boomstick with 25 knowledge bombs, and you’re about to get blown.

  • Initially, ED2 was meant to take place during medieval times, but the scope of such a production was far beyond their means. So, they just basically remade the first film with more polished practical effects. When the chance came around to do a third film, they knew exactly what story they were going to tell.
  • The budget was the biggest of the ED films so far at an estimated $8 million, but they quickly realized that wasn’t going to be enough to bring Raimi’s insane vision to life. Producer Dino De De Laurentiis relied on his relationship with Universal studios (and the timely success of Darkman) to go in $6 million for the newly  determined $12 million budget.
  • Ultimately, $12 mil wasn’t even enough! After principal photography wrapped, the decision was made to go back and shoot a new ending. Since the production monies were fully tapped, Raimi, Bruce Campbell, and producer Rob Tapert collectively put up $1 million of their own salaries to fund the reshoots.
  • Ted Raimi who appeared in ED2 as “Possessed Henrietta”, took on a number roles here. He can be seen as the “Cowardly Warrior,” the one-eyed swordsmith, one of the villagers revved up by Ash’s heroic speech, and an S-Mart clerk.
  • During the S-Mart scenes there is a blink and you’ll miss it cameo from Bridget Fonda who became the third actress (of, ultimately, 4) to play the role of Ash’s doomed love interest, Linda.
  • Traci Lords (yes, the scandalous 17 year old with a fake ID who got into the adult film industry) actually auditioned for the role of Sheila.

  • Actress Embeth Davidtz (“Sheila”) was so distraught from the physical nature or her role and difficulties of performing through special effects makeup that she contemplated quitting acting for good.
  • Bill Moseley, Chop Top from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Otis from Rob Zombie’s 1000 Corpses films, is completely unrecognizable in the role of “Deadite Captain.”
  • William Lustig, the mastermind behind the home video company Blue Underground and the director of the classic Maniac and Maniac Cop series, has a cameo credited as “Fake Shemp.”
  • Other “Fake Shemps” to be found in the movie include Campbell’s brother and father and director Bernard Rose (Candyman).
  • “Fake Shemp” is a term that originated from The Three Stooges. Shemp was actually a part of the original Stooges before leaving the trio and being replaced by Curly. After Curly’s untimely death, Shemp stepped back in to help the remaining brothers and carry on their lucrative careers. Unfortunately, only 9 years later, Shemp passed away of a heart attack, leaving numerous Stooges films unfinished. Producers then utilized various tricks to keep Shemp “alive” in the next several productions. They craftily would reuse previous footage of the star interspersed with new shots of a stand in, shot mostly from the back, thus “Fake Shemp.”
  • Sam Raimi would modernize the term “Fake Shemp” by using it to refer to actors who were unrecognizable in their roles due to heavy makeup, specific framing only showing their hands or feet, or for when an actor would stand in for another’s role.

  • The original title was The Medieval Dead. When Universal refused that title, it became known The Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness. Of course, Uni worried that with a “3” in the title, the film wouldn’t stand on its own, so the mention of ED was dropped.
  • One of the early shots of the classic Delta 88 falling from modern times only to crash into the sand of medieval times was shot twice. Great technical difficulties ensued; the crane meant to drop the automobile in frame ended up tipping over and off a nearby cliff. Ultimately, Raimi and co felt the new footage just wasn’t up to snuff compared to the similar footage filmed for ED2, so the decision was made to mostly use those shots from the previous sequel instead.
  • A piece of Campbell’s costume ended up scratching his face during a vigorous fight scene. He was rushed to the hospital in full costume. Once there, the doctor was terribly confused as to just what exactly he was to stitch up amongst the various SFX cuts and wounds painted on the actor’s mug.

  • Principal photography lasted for around 100 days(!) and took place on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert in the heat of summer. Suffice to say, they were not pleasant shooting conditions.
  • The infamous words from the Necronomicon, that Ash just can’t seem to get right, “Klaatu Barada Nikto” were lifted from the sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still. In that film one must say “Klaatu barada nitko”
    to stop the monstrous robot.
  • During post-production it was determined that further reshoots were needed. Universal refused to cough up anymore cash until De Laurentiis released the character rights for Hannibal Lecter in order for the studio to move forward with a sequel to the smash-hit Silence of the Lambs.
  • Why are there so many damn cuts of the film?! Well, it really comes down to the rating. Uni wanted the film to go out to theaters as PG-13 (could you imagine?), and the initial submission was slapped with an NC-17. They were far off the mark, and numerous attempts were made to tone the violence down. An outside editor was eventually brought in to take a whack at it. That version, now known as the “US Theatrical Cut,” had a runtime of 81 minutes (the shortest version out there)…and still carried with it an R rating. The other versions of the film are as follows:
  • “Director’s Cut” (96 Min) – This was Sam’s initial cut of the film, and as it stands, the longest running version officially available. Certain fan-cuts feature all of the footage from the various versions to present the absolute most complete cut imaginable. That said, at 96 minutes long, both Rami and Campbell have expressed concern the DC tends to drag a bit. The big difference is the inclusion of Raimi’s original ending (where Ash overshoots his journey back to the future and winds up in an apocalyptic England) that Universal found too depressing.
  • “International Cut” (88 Min) – This version was prepared by De Laurentiis for distribution in territories outside the US. Dino seemed to be working from Raimi’s DC and the big changes are with the “Tiny Ash” scene. Over two minutes of footage were cut from the “Gulliver’s Travels” homage. Also, the England ending was replaced with the S – Mart ending which is a product of the “US Theatrical.”
  • “US Television Version” (88 Min) – The thought is this cut was a stray attempt from Raimi to appease Universal during the months of post-production hell. Obviously, the naughty words have been trimmed and often overdubbed (ie. “She-bitch” becomes “She-witch”). There’s less an emphasis on the slap-sticky blood, and most additional scenes that exist only in this cut seem fairly arbitrary, existing only to ensure a feature length runtime (also includes the S-Mart ending).

  • The film only made $4.4 million on opening weekend on its way to around $21 million in worldwide box office. Its domestic gross, however, was only $11.5 mil which didn’t even recoup the initial budget.
  • Roger Ebert, notoriously rough on horror, had this to say at the time of the film’s release, “The movie isn’t as funny or entertaining as Evil Dead II, however, maybe because the comic approach seems recycled. Then again, the movie seems aimed at an audience of 14-year olds, who would have been 8 when Evil Dead II came out, so maybe this will all seem breathtakingly original.”
  • Desson Howe of The Washington Post was far kinder: “In Darkness, Raimi offers all the fantasy, camp and hardcore horror you devoured in the comics. You can feel the pen-and-ink drawings coming to life. Dipping wittily into myth, the macabre and the modern, it’s an effervescent adventure that’s as amusing as it is genuinely gripping.”
  • BONUS FACT: Whispered echoes from the great beyond can still be heard to this day repeating the phrase, “We’re working on Army of Darkness 2.”

AROUND THE WEB


Click to comment